Earlier this year, the largest American circus company,Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, announced that they would be retiring all their elephants from tour.The idea is that the elephants who have been cruelly trained and forced to perform "tricks" in front of screaming audiences for years will now be in a safe haven.
But the sad reality of the situation is that they will be sent to The Center for Elephant Conservationnear Orlando, US, where they will be used ina breeding program.Abreedingprogram might seem like a welcome change to the 18,000 miles they travel a year on the circus tour, performing across multiple cities, and gettingchained up on long train rides...
Although this particular circus company should supposedly be putting an end to these training programmes, plenty of other circus elephants are forced to go through a similarly horrific training process.PETArecentlyannounced their concerns for elephants who are retired to the Ringling conservation center in Florida:
Elephants will no doubt still be chained on a daily basis, be forced to breed, be deprived of opportunities to interact and socialize normally, and continue to live in fear of being hit with bullhooks.
The "crushing" training process
The breeding program process is similar to the training method called "crushing" in countries like Thailand and Cambodia.The aim of the brutaltraining method is to cause the elephant to come to psychological breaking point, so that they eventually obey their trainers in the blink of an eye, exhausted by their torments.Having been torn away from their mothers, the baby elephants are then tied up completely, with ropes fastened around their trunk, neck and each of their feet…
Once they are completely immobilised,they are sometimesstarved for a few days and regularlywhipped so that they can never get a moment’s sleep. By the end, the elephants lose the will to fight and simply obey.Indeed, a former elephant trainer for Ringling Bros. SamHaddock, regretted his career choice after experiencing first-hand what goes on during the torturous training.Haddockcontacted PETA, describing the violence and unimaginable cruelty inflicted on baby elephants and providedshocking photos to prove it.
To help save these animals from their cruel fate, you can stop going to any sort of attraction which involves riding animals or animals performing tricks.Unlike the Ringling "center", theElephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, is an actual sanctuary where the animalsare left to exist free of unnecessary human contact. It is much more like their natural habitat and they can even in wallow in the mud!